This month I’d like to address more concerns from a field technician’s perspective that might otherwise go unknown by folks not of the outdoorly employed persuasion. Namely BEES!

Okay, so not solely bees in particular, they just happen to have a pithier name that’s more fun to yell. Specifically I’d like to address all creatures of the flying, stinging, venomy variety. The most notorious of these beasties that we in the field frequently come into contact with is wasps.

Wasps: I hate them, and they hate me back. Wasps are bees turned up to 11 and given the capability to hold grudges. I have no idea what these critters have to be so mad about, but they are.

Let me paint you a picture to show a slice of tech life. It’s early morning. The sun is rising in the horizon as you walk through knee high grass to gauge your sixth or seventh well. It’s not quite hot out yet, a north wind sways the limbs of a line of elm trees a few yards off. A robin warbles in the distance. You make it to the well, unlock the lid, flip it open to access the casing AND A DOZEN ENRAGED WASPS NESTING UNDER THE METAL STICK UP LID COME ROARING OUT AT YOU!

You’d think after the fifth or sixth time that happened, the surprise would wear off. But it doesn’t. I’ve personally taken off running through fields at least a dozen times, scrambling for the safety of the pickup cab. I even made it once or twice. A few times while sampling at Air Force bases I’ve tried signalling to nearby pilots for an air strike to cover my tactical retreat. It hasn’t worked yet.

You may be thinking to yourself “Cooper, why are you talking about wasps when it’s almost December? Wouldn’t it be more apropos to discuss during the warmer months when they’re around?” Oh you sweet summer child, these mean little buggers don’t just disappear in the Fall. In fact wasps can remain semi active into the winter, oftentimes nesting in warm undisturbed locations such as electrical panels, or attics. Hope that helps you sleep at night, knowing that there exists the possibility for a little organic ied of tiny venomous hate drones waiting to go off while you’re up in your crawl space rooting around for Christmas ornaments.

And with everyone’s spheksophobia fully inflamed, I hope this article has been enlightening to some of the hazardous, more stingy parts of the field technician profession.

Chris Cooper
Environmental Specialist
Oklahoma Environmental Services